Monday, December 11, 2017

Right Now

I should be unpacking or working or sleeping or spending quality time with my husband, but in the midst of all that I found myself thinking about the cute boys asleep in our new house and felt a sudden urge to take a second to write it all down. I want to remember how precious these young people are, and maybe a quick snapshot will do the trick.

For context, it's mid-December, 2017, and we JUST moved to the Bay Area from Los Angeles. Terry accepted a job offer in October, then started work soon after, flying up to work during the week while I stayed in LA with the kids. But now we're here and slowly settling in, unpacking as many boxes as we can each day and trying to make life feel normal in this new place.

Declan makes us laugh every day. He's such a bundle of joy at 14 months old, walking solidly around the house singing, "Doh doh doh," as he toddles, belly first, from room to room. Mostly, he wants to play with whatever Marshall is playing with (cue major exasperation from me as I have to run interference every time Marshall yells, "Declaaannnnn! No! We're not doing that!"), but he also loves finding small toys or objects to carry around like a treasure. He's hilarious when he's doing something he knows he shouldn't, like running away in the middle of a diaper change and giggling madly as he makes it all the way to another room. When he's happy and relaxed (especially at meal times, perhaps content with what he's eating), he sort of hums to himself and dances. Throughout the day, he'll walk up to us and burrow his head into our knees and wrap his arms around our legs in a big hug (if we bend down to hug him he gets even more cuddly!). I feel so lucky to have two cuddly boys. When Declan is grumpy (usually on his one-nap days when he's just wiped out around 4 pm), he just wants to be held, usually by mama, and I generally don't mind indulging him. He sleeps in our room at least a few hours every night, and I know those nighttime cuddles are dwindling. He can already put himself to sleep in the evenings and was sleeping through the night regularly before we moved. He's been a nighttime snuggler since day one (the night he was born, I didn't put him down until morning next day!), so I'm soaking up whatever time he wants to hang out in our room. He also loves stuffed animals and calls them all Teddy ("datty!"), picks them up, says, "Hi!" and hugs them. It just doesn't get any cuter. I always love to see what new experiences Declan will enjoy each day!

Marshall is three and a half and is such a classic toddler in so many ways--those emotions are high ALL the time and a meltdown is never far away. But when he feels calm and safe, he speaks so clearly and maturely and loves a good conversation (when he's in the mood--this kid is an introvert for sure!). He still loves reading books more than almost anything; if he hears us reading a book to Declan in another room he will drop whatever he is doing and run to listen in. It's like a magnet! These last few weeks, he's taken to sitting by himself to look through books on his own, and I doubt it'll be long before he's reading to himself for real. For now, he has several books memorized and can recite even LONG stories (a few Dr. Seuss, Choo Choo by Virginia Lee Burton, etc.) entirely by heart. He's always been an ultra-observant kid, and we see now that those observation skills are useful when he wants to memorize a song or book. When he hears a song he likes, you can practically see his mind working as he listens intently to each word. We have to watch what we say because he soaks it ALL up! His imagination has exploded in recent months, too, and every hour I hear a new request to play pretend ("pretend this is our house and we're baking," "pretend these are my babies," "pretend we're on an airplane!"). Unfortunately, I'm learning that I'm not great at playing with Marshall; I am much better at conversations and maybe running around outside. I love watching him play, but I just don't get that into it when he wants me to actually play an imaginative game with him. I'm working on it though. It broke my heart last month to say goodbye to his home away from home, his sweet preschool where he spent so many days learning and growing and making wonderful friends. He truly thrived there, and I hope that growth says as much about his personality than about the school, because we haven't yet found a place we love quite as much up here. This kid is a stickler for rules and is so eager to learn how the world works. I love watching him soak it all in.

I want to write more, but I need to get back to the aforementioned tasks that require my attention before these little rascals wake up in the morning!